In November 2017 the California Supreme Court issued an opinion in Gerawan Farming Co. v. Agricultural Labor Relations Board. The decision upheld a controversial law enabling labor unions to force collective-bargaining agreements upon agricultural employers. And now we’re concerned that other states may implement similar measures to target agricultural companies.
Previously a Court of Appeals sided with NFIB Small Business Legal Center in holding this coercive regime unconstitutional. At the time we proclaimed this a major victory. But, now only the U.S. Supreme Court can set things right.
We argue in an amicus brief filed in June 2018, that the U.S. Supreme Court should take this case to make clear that it is unlawful for government to impose individualized legal proscriptions in this manner. Indeed, there is something insidious about government singling out a specific business for more burdensome regulatory requirements. Moreover, we believe that the Constitution protects the freedom of contract—or at least the right to refuse a contract.
Interestingly, there is another wrinkle to this case. Gerawan Farming Company’s employees say that don’t even want union representation. They voted (twice) to decertify the United Farm Workers union; however, the California Agricultural Labor Relations Board refused to count the ballots. Finally, after a prolonged delay a California court has now ordered ALRB to count the ballots in question.